December 1st – Advent

Jake Basford

Day 1 – Vada Advent Calendar 2013

20 Reasons Why ‘Angels in America’ is Fabulous


Written by Tony Kushner in the early 1990s, the play Angels in America was a powerful, moving examination of life in America for those affected by HIV/AIDS, and the people around them, but was set in 1985 during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in New York.

In 2003, HBO, makers of Sex and the City, amongst other things, turned it into a fabulous TV mini-series, separating the play’s two halves Millennium Approaches and Perestroika into two three-hour chunks of three chapters, translating the acts from the play to the screen.

Here are Vada’s top 20 reasons why watching it is FUNDAMENTAL this World AIDS Day:


1)   This quote, and the use of “Mary” as a general term of endearment between gay men.

“Purple? Boy, what kind of homosexual are you, anyway? That’s not purple, Mary. That colour up there is… mauve.” – Belize


2)     This scene.

Because we have all wanted to do this to a cute Republican at some point. Maybe not you, Rick Santorum, but cute Republicans do exist.

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3)      The best reaction ever.

Mary Elizabeth Parker

4)      The pairing of Meryl Streep and Al Pacino.

Meryl Streep and Al Pacion

Legen….wait for it…dary.

5)     This awesome, if not slightly creepy, angel statue from the opening credits.

Bethesda 1

We had never, in all the years of watching  New York-based TV/Film realised that this statue had a name and a history. And it appears in everything. Thank you Angels in America.

6)      Patrick Wilson. Shirtless. 

Patrick Wilson and Ben Shenkman


7)      This use of ‘Republican’ to imply ‘Raving Homo’. 


Not quite as good as Will and Grace, but still…

8)      Mary-Louise Parker as ‘a mentally deranged sex-starved pill-popping housewife’.


9)      That also ends up working with Justin Kirk again in Weeds a year later (and several before Breaking Bad even came on the scene).


10)   This discussion between Roy Cohn and his doctor about labels (for anyone who ever questioned why MSM Sexual Health workers are needed).

Roy Cohn

11)   Al Pacino saying ‘Fabulous’. Mostly for giving good face.


12)   The Church vs Homosexuals (and us winning)

Church Mormons Homosexuals


13)   Meryl Streep in drag as an old Jewish rabbi.


Watch out, RuPaul.

14)   Emma Thompson’s New York accent as Emily the nurse. Lolz. 

Emma Thompson

Not that we could do much better, mind you.

15)   Emma Thompson as the fiercest Angel you’ve ever seen.

emma thompson ängel

“I I I I am the bird of America!”

You betta werk, Miss Angel.

16)  This fantastic exchange between Prior Walter and the Angel.


“Maybe not to you…”

17)   Belize as a character in general. 


Sassy, whip-tongued, powerful and ends up saving the day a lot. LOVE HER.  Jeffrey Wright got a very well-deserved Golden Globe win for his role.  We’ve already mentioned our favourite quote, but basically everything the character says is gold, so here are a few of our favourites:

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– “You’re full of such piping hot crap that the very mention of your name draws flies”

– “The cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing: he set the word ‘free’ to a note so high nobody could reach it. That was deliberate.”

– “Hush now baby or nanny will have to get out the wooden spoon”

– “He’s Roy Cohn’s… Butt Boy”

– “All your cheques bounce. You’re ambivalent about everything.”

18)   Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep shagging as an angel and a Mormon mother, respectively. 

Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep

Coz that happens every day, like.

19)   This amazing conversation.

She has eight vaginas


20)  This brilliantly moving final quote.

“It’s January 1990, I’ve been living with AIDS for five years. That’s six whole months longer than I lived with Louis… This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all. And the dead will be commemorated, and will struggle on with the living and we are not going away. We won’t die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward, we will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now, you are fabulous each and every one and I bless you. More life, the great work begins.”

AIDS is not the end


Thanks to fuckyouimaprophet and harperinantartica for some of the images

About Jake Basford

Essex-boy living in Cardiff, Jake is a writer, PR/Media officer, and Social Media consultant. Obsessed with video games, American culture and Buffy. Can usually be found at his laptop working.

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